GROUSE MOUNTAIN

It was on Wednesday, the 18th of June 2008 when Nena and I joined a tour of Grouse Mountain which is just about half an hour from our hotel in downtown Vancouver.

Located on Vancouver's North Shore, some 4,100 feet (1,200 m) into the sky, Grouse Mountain is a year-round mountaintop playground that offers hiking, helicopter tours, paragliding, picnics and logging shows, sleigh rides and skiing ... and magical views of the city and its surroundings.

Our adventure began as we stepped into the Super Skyride, a 100-passenger tram that glides on a one-mile journey up the steep mountainside. The first two-chair ski lift began operating here in 1949 and the largest cable car in North America was opened in 1965. Its capacity was doubled in 1976 with the Super Skyride. In just eight minutes we were 3,700 feet (1,100 m) above sea level, and near the top of Grouse Mountain. On the tram one can enjoy the vast panorama sweeping from Vancouver Island 80 kilometers away, to the San Juan Islands almost 200 kilometers to the south in the state of Washington.

During the winter months thousands of people come here every day to enjoy the unusual opportunity of excellent skiing. The mountain remained without a name until 1894 when a climbing party came across a grouse on its slopes and decided to name the peak after the wild bird, rather than any particular physical feature. The mountain's popularity dates from 1924 when an enterprising businessman built a toll road leading almost to the summit.

The magnificent panorama enjoyed from the road quickly made Grouse Mountain one of the favorite spots to visit on the West Coast. The resort has excellent downhill slopes and cross-country runs, some of which are also open at night and, clearly visible from the city center. This is one of the most characteristic features of the north shore during the wintertime ... skiing on the floodlit slopes with the bright lights of the city and the ships in the bay immediately at one's feet is indeed a unique experience. The neighboring peaks, Seymour and Cypress, also have good ski slopes, but only Grouse Mountain is equipped to host international events.

Grouse Mountain is one of the most popular resorts in summer too with its bars and restaurants. Its Theater in the Sky, which opened in 1990 is now one of Vancouver's favorite attractions. It has the World Famous Lumberjack Show, The Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, Birds in Motion Demonstrations and an array of mountain top nature trails. There is also a large playground where children can play, a little fort and various other buildings made from tree trunks, in this wild and natural setting.

The photographs I took during our tour of Grouse Mountain should give you you an idea of what we saw. Just click on the link shown below:

Grouse Mountain

Enjoy your cyberspace tour of the Grouse Mountain.



junylaputt@yahoo.com